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One of the hallmarks of a depressed brain is its tendency to fixate or ruminate. Often that rumination is focused on self. The depressed brain asks questions like:

Why do I feel this way?

What is wrong with me?

I feel so awful.

Do you notice a theme? THIS ISN’T THE DEPRESSED PERSON’S FAULT AND IT’S NOT SELFISHNESS. It’s simply a habitual pattern of the brain. After all, as neuroscience has taught us, “neurons that fire together wire together”. However, neuroscience has also demonstrated very clearly that we can change our brains! What does this changing our brains (known as brain plasticity) mean for the depressed brain? It means that if one can move the brain to a more connected place, one is more likely to loosen the focus on self and increase the sense of connection and well-being the depressed heart craves.

How?

Engage in Random Acts of Kindness. There are a variety of resources on-line that provide ideas for sharing generously of your time, energy, heart or money. One of my favorites is The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation which promotes a culture of kindness in schools, homes, and communities. Another very accessible way of connecting with others is expressing gratitude to others in your life. I wrote about this in another post titled Thankful Talk. And of course, you can just listen to the kindness of your heart. After completing any act of kindness, I encourage you to reflect on the felt sense of connectedness which arises. Each act of kindness creates a connection leading to less me and more we.